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Sheriff remembers when Pulse became Treasure Coast story

Posted at 7:47 PM, Jun 12, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-13 04:06:54-04

 5:30, the morning of June 12, a call was made from Orlando to St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken Mascara.

“And he says listen, we think the shooter might be from Fort Pierce," Sheriff Mascara recalled Monday.

After hearing a last name, Sheriff Mascara responded with the first name.

“There was dead silence and then another person got on the phone, the FBI agent in charge and said ‘how do you know that’?”

Omar Mateen had come to the sheriff’s attention back in 2013, when he asked for Mateen to be removed from his position as a guard at the St. Lucie County Courthouse.

“There was a back and forth between him and my employees. I think there was some teasing and out of the clear blue he said “I’ll have Al Qaeda kill you and your family," said Sheriff Mascara.

Not long after the Pulse massacre, the mosque in Fort Pierce where the shooter had sometimes worshipped, was torched. The sheriff was out of state when he got that call.

"I thought they were teasing me, I said there’s no way and he said ‘No I’m racing to the scene right now it’s supposedly fully engulfed.”

The arsonist, Joseph Schreiber from Port St. Lucie, pleaded guilty and is now serving a 30-year sentence.
The sheriff says ties with the local Muslim community have strengthened in the past year after some initial problems.

“I think the original miscommunication has been cleared up and subsequent communication has been much better.”

The sheriff’s office has also had his deputies take part in active shooter training with county firefighters so in the event of an active shooter, victims can be reached faster.

“Each and every time we learn something new from these mass shootings, we implement something new,” said the sheriff.